Robert van der Hilst, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
I studied photography at the Fotovakschool in the Hague.
At the age of 19 I decided to leave Holland to travel and work throughout
Europe. In 1963 I ended up in Paris where I worked as a photographer until
1966. That same year I moved to Toronto, Canada where I lived until 1978.
From Toronto I undertook many long trips into Latin America, always to
make photographs. On one occasion I drove my car all the way to the most
southern tip of South America, over a period of 18 months.
I exhibited Thoughts and Images: MESOAMERICA in Paris in early 1979. I
received assignments from magazines like Geo, Stern, Marie Claire, Sunday
Times Magazine, Vogue and more.
In 1987-1988, thanks to a grant from the Dutch Ministery of Culture, I settled
for one year in Cuba to photograph. I exhibited Vu à Cuba (Seen in Cuba) at
La Maison de l’Amérique Latine/Paris during the Month of Photography in
In the early nineties I devoted myself to photograph the city of Shanghai
where I returned 7 times in 3 years, always on assignment for magazines. I
exhibited Shanghai-Photocopies at l’Institut Néerlandais in Paris in 1994.
In 2001 I decided to start more personal work, away from assignments for
magazines. As throughout my career as a photographer I always had enjoyed
photographing people inside their homes, I conclude that from now on I will
concentrate my work on solely photographing people inside their homes.
I am back to my Dutch roots,remembering how as an adolescent, living in
Amsterdam, I became so much influenced and inspired by Dutch mid-17th
Century genre painting.
The same year, with financial assistance from l’Institut Néerlandais/Paris,
I spent 3 months photographing Cuban families in the town of Baracoa.
In 2002 I spent a month in Miami/Florida, to photograph Cuban families
inside their homes and in Nov./Dec. 2002 I exhibited Cuban Interiors at
Publication of my books Les Cubains and Cuban Interiors in 2002.
From 2004 until 2008 I photograph Chinese Interiors, which makes me
travel and photograph all over the country. In 2009 I am invited by the City
of Hangzhou/China, as Artist in Residence, for 6 months and in 2010
Shanghai Culture Publishing House publishes my book Chinese Interiors.
Later in 2010 the French publishing house GALLIMARD publishes the same
book for the French market. This same year I exhibited of Chinese Interiors in
Amsterdam, Paris, Beijing,Shanghai, Berlin, Munich, Barcelona, Brescia.
In 2013 Shanghai Culture Publishing House publishes my book Timeless World,
a retrospective of more than 40 years of photography all over the world.